Friday, August 10, 2007

Well, that's it, then.

Post number 401. Wow. That takes a second to absorb. Been blogging a while, I see.

The news of the day: I'm not going to be running for re-election. I'll still serve the rest of my term into December of 2007, but I'm not filing to be on the ballot.

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with myself -- the thought of being home alone with my son, no matter how much I love him, is truly terrifying. Yeah, no one understands him the way I do. Yeah, it's the best thing for him. Yeah, he'll eventually get back into school. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.

I spoke to the board president about a week ago about whether or not I should run. He's been avoiding my calls. His secretary will say he's in the office, but then after a long hold, she comes back on to say that he'll have to call me back. I know this pattern. Great.

I told him last Friday that I was pretty sure I wasn't going to run. Not a single word of "I'll miss you" or "You've contributed so much" or anything else that would have been, I dunno, pleasant to hear. All he said was, "I think that's for the best." He specifically pointed out that my son would be a political liability to me. Thanks, dude. You're the best.

Yesterday Dear Butcher really pressured me to stay on the Board, if just for my own sanity if nothing else. Not to run a campaign or anything, but just get the name on the ballot and see what happens. I had a Board meeting last night, so I pulled the president out into the hallway and told him that I was reconsidering. His response? "I've already lined up some people to run. I've been doing a lot of work, based on what you told me last week. You're killing me here."

Glad to know this is all about you.

I asked him if we could talk this morning. Today's the last day I can pull papers at the elections office. "No. I've got meetings all morning." I gave him a disgusted look and said, "Well then. You're making yourself pretty clear. No time at all to talk?" He shook his head.

After the meeting, two other board members, tipped off by him, danced around the subject of my running and all gave me separate reasons why it wouldn't be a good thing. Nod and Smile. Nod and Smile.

I went out for drinks with the Superintendent and one of the Board members, who said nothing else during the evening. Every once in a while, someone at the table would ask if I was OK, and I'd say, "No," and the conversation would continue on.

This morning I got a call from the prez while Dear Butcher was still home. Prez sez that he's promised endorsements to his two candidates, and that he's lines up more endorsements from sitting board members, including the one I shared drinks with last night. So if I put my name on the ballot, I won't be getting any support, but of course it's my decision. He also says that he'd hate to see me hung out to dry (even though he's just told me that he's done it). Then he has the nerve to say that he cares about me, is concerned about me, and how am I doing?

Jesus Fucking Christ. How is one supposed to answer such a thing? Every time he's been attacked, I had his back. His family has gone through attacks because he pulled his older kids out to attend Catholic school. I stood up for that decision. There have been two controversial votes, including the closing of a school, that he didn't show up for, and I am the only recorded vote on those issues. I've run meetings for him when he couldn't make it. But he's worried that my son is going to kill my reputation? Thanks, bud.

(True reason here for the switch in support is that I don't agree with some of the raises that the staff have been getting. We need to hold some money back for trainings and recruitment of newer staff, but he doesn't agree with me. So, buh-bye.)

Running, not running, I've gone back and forth on that one a lot, so his pressuring me isn't really what's bothering me. But, damn, are my feelings hurt. I'm a workhorse for that Board. And mostly, the rest of the Board doesn't even bother to read what they ask me to produce. Hundreds of pages of policy edits? No one reads it. They don't even want to *discuss* policy, which is supposed to be a separate item on every agenda. Every meeting I have to take them through the report and point out where it says in bold "Option 1" and "Option 2". Negotiations? No one listens to the reports we make. No one reads the contract. No one even reads the proposed settlement agreement before voting on it.

Politics, decision-making, finding a compromise, standing up for what you believe in, drafting a statement that encapsulates your priorities, I love that part, and I get annoyed when people say they hate politicians. Because the politicians are the ones who ARE deciding what is going on in your town or in your schools. They/we WANT to hear from people to find out what will work or won't work in any community.

But this part of politics, the gamesmanship, the campaigning, this part sucks.

I feel like I've been kicked hard right in the stomach. *Just* what I needed.


Chris said...

That is massively, massively crappy. And, I think, part of the reason why a lot of otherwise very good people stay the hell away from politics.

I'm sorry they're being such jerks.

Angela James said...

Suisan, through the years that we've "known" each other I've often admired your dedication and tenacity, your passionate caring about the school system, your son and your family. I think the board is going to lose out on something valuable, but that you may perhaps gain something. I know you'll miss it in someways, but maybe not continuing on will decrease your stress level.

No matter what, you've obviously put a lot of work into the board in the past years, and while they may or may not miss that (sometimes people who are to oblivious to see what you're doing while you're there, are still too oblivious to see it when you're gone), you know what you did and so do many, many other people.

((hugs)) on feeling hurt. I know that's hard to overcome no matter what we all say.

Marianne McA said...

That's awful. Why would your son be a political liability anyway?

I think it's one of David Cameron's great selling points as Conservative leader - the thought that you could have someone in office who really is personally motivated to make the education system work for every child. (And who will understand what it means to be a carer.)

Their loss.

And, frankly, if I was you, I'd put my feet up until December and declare myself too busy to produce anything.

Doug said...

You have indeed been stomped on by a-holes. It's a betrayal . . . and while I'm in agreement with Marianne's recommendation, I suspect you have too much integrity to do that. So, what happens? They'll only realize what they've lost AFTER you've gone. And I suppose that's when they start asking you if you might reconsider for the next election.

I wish I could say something to make it better, but I can only imagine too well the pain this must be causing you. It's not even so much the lack of appreciation, I think, as the betrayal. Oh, Suisan, you deserve so much better than this.

CindyS said...

I'm with Doug, they don't deserve you and I'm so sorry you were hurt because no matter what, that is hurtful. For him to say he doesn't even have a minute to talk? What an asshat. The crazy thing is I think they were circling the wagons before you even mentioned you might not get involved.

To me, your son is an asset (and it's horrible to even think in those kind of terms) because you care so much about the system that you want it to work for everyone. People suck.

There's a bad part of me that says run but who needs to be banging their head against that wall!

So yeah. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke!


Megan Frampton said...

That IS politics, isn't it? Those bastards. You've worked yourself to the bone for them, and your son, and you deserve a better send-off.
FWIW, I appreciate all the work you've done--gives me hope there are people like you working for kids across our country.

Bookwormom said...

I'm late to the party, as usual, but I wanted you to know I'm sad to see you put in such an awkward, painful position. I hope things look up for you and your family.